Although he has declined to say that the Maryland job has been more difficult than he had envisioned, first-year Terrapins coach Randy Edsall on Tuesday said that sometimes players do not adapt to a new coach’s philosophy as quickly as the coach would like.
Edsall, who succeeded the fired Ralph Friedgen at Maryland after a 12-year stint at Connecticut, has seen the early portion of his Maryland tenure marked by inconsistent on-field performance, including an humiliating 38-7 home loss to Temple, and some off-the-field growing pains.
Edsall has suspended three players — wide receivers Ronnie Tyler and Quintin McCree (two games apiece) and running back D.J. Adams (one game) — for violations of team rules. And Edsall in recent weeks has suggested that some players still were playing more for themselves than for the team.
Most of Maryland’s current players were recruited by Friedgen and his staff. When asked directly Tuesday to reflect on his U-Conn. experience and whether it was easier to get his message across once he had more players whom he recruited, Edsall said, “When you are instilling your philosophy about the team concept and accountability, and all the things that we do, and new schemes on offense and defense, sometimes maybe it takes a little bit longer for everybody to grasp than what you would like.”
One veteran Maryland player, who spoke to a Post reporter privately about his feelings about Edsall, expressed some displeasure with Edsall’s strict approach, saying that the coach has stifled individuality and created a militaristic atmosphere around the Gossett Team House. The player, who spoke anonymously so he could talk freely, said he would keep his spirits up because he had just three more months before he left the program.
Other players, however, have publicly defended what they called their coach’s no-nonsense approach.
When asked Tuesday whether all of his players have to this point embraced his team-first concept, Edsall said: “That’s always a work in progress. When I talk about the team concept in terms of our philosophy, it is that trust. The trust has to be there first and foremost. Getting everyone to buy into and believe everything that is going on.
“That is the bottom line. You’ve got to have that before you have anything else. And then getting everyone to be enthusiastic about what they are doing, to be passionate about all the things they are doing. The other thing is, watching these kids, to me, I want to get them to understand that body language is important, how they carry themselves in everything they do.
“The thing that’s always tough for everybody is the accountability part, because there are always going to be some people who want to kind of do something their own way a little bit. If you want to be who we want to be, and if you want to be who you want to be as a person, you’ve got to want that accountability. We have made a lot of progress, but when you instill a philosophy it does take time. It is not one of those things that happens overnight, but we are a lot better now than where we were.”